Leslie C. Hyde: A conservation activist with a concrete love for St. George

When St. George resident Leslie C. Hyde passed away this past Christmas Day, the conservation community in the midcoast lost a great friend, supporter and activist.

The loss for St. George was particularly acute. For one thing, this is where Hyde’s love for this part of Maine was first kindled through time spent exploring Mosquito Island in the 1970s.

This is also where, in his work as environmental educator for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension service, Hyde played an instrumental role in ensuring that Blueberry Cove Camp could get a new lease on life with an ongoing mission to inspire a love and care for nature in young campers.

And this is where Hyde’s conservation activism—in league with the George’s River Land Trust (of which he was a founding member), St. George’s Conservation Commission (of which, at his death, he was both a member and past chair), the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and students at the St. George School—led to the acquisition for public use and enjoyment of many local conservation easements and preserves, along with efforts to restore a run of alewives into the Tenants Harbor marsh, preserve vernal pools, and limit the incursion of invasive vegetation.

The list of places in St. George that will always be associated with Hyde’s care and concern is long: Roaring Spot, Fort Point, Tommy’s Island, the Jones Brook Trail, the Bamford Preserve in Long Cove, the Meadow Brook estuary in the Otis Cove section, High Island. He died hopeful that a campaign to raise funds to conserve most of Clark Island for public benefit and an effort to make passage of alewives up Ripley Creek into the town marsh more feasible would also be successful.

There is no doubt Hyde loved St. George. He and his wife of 36 years, Anne Cogger, raised a family in Long Cove, enthusiastically sailed these waters and came to know the peninsula’s landscapes intimately. And the St. George community can be grateful that Hyde’s love for this place is something he didn’t keep to himself—it is something he concretely shared with us all.—JW

PHOTO: Lily Hyde Sytsma

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